The invitation arrived on Tuesday. It was a single piece of card with the school photo of the year David Brook left. Underneath the photo was emblazoned "Reunion! New Hill High School Class of '89!" There was a Facebook group and an email address by which to RSVP.
David looked at the piece of card while eating his breakfast before leaving for work. He was very surprised that whoever was organising the event had found his address. He hadn't really kept in touch with his old school friends after he left and had moved around quite a bit. Occasionally, you bumped into one in the supermarket or the pub and exchanged slightly stilted pleasantries, but no old friendships were reforged in reverie. Time had moved on, twenty two years in fact. New Hill High, or "Newey" as anyone who ever went there called it, filled David with memories of awkwardness, bullying, and isolation. For David, high school was a time and a place best left forgotten. It hadn't done him any favours and neither he it.
"So are you going to go?" Amanda asked.
Amanda was David's wife of eleven years. She didn't go to Newey, instead she went to a private girls school a few towns away and most days David wondered why on earth a beautiful, funny, intelligent girl with a fantastic future ahead of her would choose a boy from the cheap streets of Milton. David had his good points of course, but he always thought that in winning the heart of Amanda, he had punched way above his weight.
Amanda had provided him with two fantastic children. Emma, who was eight, with blue eyes and blonde hair that shone like the sun. She had the wit and countenance of her mother too. Robin on the other hand was dark haired and brown eyed like his father and five years old. He was also devilment personified and could easily be found down the back end of the garden burning worms with a magnifying glass or saying "Bum!" really loudly in the supermarket because he had grasped the concept embarrassing adults just after he had learned to talk. Currently, they could both be heard upstairs shying shoes at each other on the landing before Amanda called them down for the school run.
"I don't know." he replied. "Probably not. It will be really dull I'm sure. After you have done the chatting and the awkward "What are you doing now?" thing, the subject will turn to the fire. Everyone will sigh and say it was a terrible thing. Which it was. Everyone will have an anecdote about Miss Jarvis which they will tell and then move on to the next person to do it all again. It will be an evening I'll never get back."
"You dour sod!" exclaimed Amanda, batting him playfully with a tea towel. "I went to my reunion last year and had an absolute riot. I made loads of freindships again. Why, Julie and I hadn't seen each other since Uni and after that reunion we have been going to the gym together every week for nearly a year now. By the way, Julie and I are going out for a meal tonight and its straight from work for me, so you have to pick the kids up from after school club."
David nodded, still looking at the invitation. "I don't think anyone would remember me to be honest. I haven't seen anyone from school for years."
"Not remember you? Are you mad? You rescued two pupils from that fire David. You're a bloody hero. Everyone will remeber you. Such a terrible accident. Bad business, the death of that teacher." Amanda went quiet for a moment. "You should go. It might be cathartic. Emma! Robin! Shoes on! Let's go!" She kissed him on the forehead, grabbed her bag and keys and marshalled the children out of the house.
David was left alone in the kitchen as the front door slammed in the chaos of the school run. It was bad business the fire at the school. The fire service and the police had ruled that the start of the fire was due to faulty wiring and a leaking water pipe. David however, had always been of the opinion that something more sinister had played it's part in that fire and the death of a 23 year old student teacher who was adored by pupils and colleagues alike.
Bad business indeed.